We’ve all seen these dreamy photographs of Colorado’s golden aspens spreading throughout mountains and valleys as fall descends on the Rockies. They’re a sight to behold, lighting up the mountainsides like hearth.
As Colorado residents (and lovers of autumn), we’ve spent numerous time roaming round our state trying to find the most effective locations to view gorgeous Colorado fall foliage.
On this put up, we’ve put collectively a 4-day Colorado fall highway journey itinerary so it’s also possible to expertise the autumn colours in Colorado first-hand. From probably the most scenic mountain go drives to our favourite fall hikes, there’s one thing for each outside adventurer.
Vital Reminder: Because it goes in all the locations we share, please follow good path etiquette and bear in mind to Depart No Hint. This implies packing out your whole rubbish (together with bathroom paper), being respectful to others, and following the established guidelines.
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Fall in Colorado: An Overview
Rising up in Denver, it at all times appeared like the nice and cozy, lazy days of summer time immediately became darkish, snowy dredge of winter. There have been solely a handful of days with cool temps and altering leaves.
If Fall did make an look for greater than a few days, although, it was within the mountains.
Though it‘s normally temporary, Fall within the Colorado mountains is the best.
Temperatures have cooled down and the climate is steady sufficient to spend all day exterior with out getting caught in afternoon thunderstorms (you’ll want to pack your fall mountain climbing layers although!).
Fall can also be a shoulder season for tourism, so the crowds are largely gone and there are nice offers to be discovered. However most of all, the leaves, they’re a-changing!
In Colorado, meaning the aspens flip GOLD. Seeing the aspen colours at their peak in late September/early October is a lifetime must-do.
I’ve a private affinity for highway journeys, so under I’ve outlined the final Colorado fall highway journey. It covers the whole state, with every leg of the journey hitting the largest and greatest aspen groves.
Relying in your fall highway journey time constraints, you are able to do the entire itinerary as one journey or tackle any of the person legs for a day or weekend escape from Denver whereas the leaves are altering. You’ll not be disillusioned!
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4-Day Colorado Fall Street Journey Itinerary
Every leg of this fall Colorado fall foliage itinerary features a bonus hike as an possibility so you may take a look at the fantastic thing about the autumn colours up shut and stretch your legs a bit.
Detailed driving instructions may be discovered by clicking on MAP beneath every driving leg, sending you to a Google map for that particular leg.
The driving is all on highways, so any passenger automotive ought to be capable of deal with it, no four-wheel-drive obligatory.
Leg 1: Denver to Vail
- Route: Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park and Steamboat Springs – MAP
- Distance: 319 miles
- Drive time: 7.5 hours
We begin off this fall highway journey with a bang.
Bonus Hike: Bierstadt Lake in Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park
Profit from your park entrance price in Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park by stretching your legs on this 2.4-mile roundtrip hike.
Views stretch again into Glacier Gorge towards the Continental Divide and Longs Peak, with aspens altering under. Get extra path information right here.
For different hikes within the Park, take a look at our information on the Greatest Day Hikes in Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park.
Leg 2: Vail to Crested Butte
- Route: Aspen and Carbondale – MAP
- Distance: 207 miles
- Drive time: 6 hours
This leg of the highway journey is the spotlight. Don’t get me fallacious, in all places on this itinerary is spectacular, however the mixture of Vail, Independence, McClure, and Kebler Passes is likely to be magnificence overload.
Every go alone might be a weekend (or week-long) journey. However right here they mix to kind leg two of our final Colorado fall colours highway journey.
The driving distance on this leg is a bit shorter, however you’ll need each second to cease for photographs and soak within the magnificence.
Bonus Hike: Capitol Lake by way of the Capitol Ditch Path
Lose a number of the leaf-peeping crowds that flock to Maroon Lake close to Aspen and turn out to be surrounded by aspen timber on this stunning 12-mile out and again.
Heads up, the highway to this trailhead requires excessive clearance (~7 inches) 4WD for the final mile. Get extra path information right here.
Leg 3: Crested Butte to Pagosa Springs
- Route: Silverton and Durango – MAP
- Distance: 259 miles
- Drive time: 5.5 hours
Leg 3 is one other shorter day drive time-wise, however for good cause. You’re heading right down to the western slope after which past into the San Juans, Colorado’s most dramatic mountain vary which are sometimes amplified by fall aspen leaf magnificence.
Bonus Hike: The Colorado Path from Molas Go to the Animas River
This hike is a little bit backward, which makes it form of enjoyable. Begin on the high of Molas Go and hike down on the Colorado Path to the Animas River and the practice tracks of the Durango-Silverton Slim Gauge railway.
On the best way, you’ll go into the tree line (and thru aspens after all) with close-up views of the spectacular Vestal Peak.
It’s 4 miles right down to the river, dropping 3,000 toes within the course of. Keep in mind, you’ll must climb all the best way again up in the event you make all of it the best way right down to the river!
Bonus Driving Leg: Dallas Divide from Ridgway in the direction of Telluride, CO-62
I wished this highway journey to be a real loop with no backtracking. That meant slicing off a few spots that didn’t fairly match.
However Dallas Divide and Telluride are SO BEAUTIFUL within the fall, I’ve to at the very least point out them.
When you have the time, the views on this space are effectively well worth the effort to show round and head again the best way you got here.
Take a look at a number of the greatest hikes in Telluride when you’re there.
Leg 4: Pagosa Springs to Denver
- Route: Salida, Fairplay, and Georgetown – MAP
- Distance: 389 miles
- Drive time: 8 hours
Bonus Hike: San Luis Peak between Saguache and Gunnison
If the climate is favorable, San Luis Peak is probably the most distant fourteener in Colorado.
It’s an superior 13-mile, class 1 path that rewards hikers with some golden aspens on the best way to the highest. Get extra path information right here.
Whew, there you have got it! Twenty-seven hours of a number of the prettiest fall colours in Colorado driving on the earth, actually.
Fall is probably the most fantastic time of the yr in Colorado for a highway journey; now get on the market and luxuriate in!
When you’re searching for extra Colorado highway journey sources, take a look at these weblog posts:
Are you planning a Colorado fall highway journey? The place is your favourite place to see Colorado fall foliage? Depart a remark under!